Based entirely on my own limited personal experience and the common sense that some “publicists” appear to be remarkably adept at surviving without, here are some tips on soliciting coverage from music blogs:
1) DO identify people who have written about similar artists or issues, and think about how they might cover yours.
2) DON’T find a list of “top classical music blogs” and then go through it, pasting your press release into their contact forms.
3) DO use the time you’ve saved to craft a genuinely personal pitch to your targeted bloggers.
4) DON’T write a faux-chatty intro to your formal boilerplate pitch in the hope this will fool anybody.
5) DO offer something they can’t get for themselves, like access to the artist for an interview.
6) DON’T make the writer contact you for enough information to decide if they’re even interested.
7) DO include your telephone number.
8) DON’T assume that everybody with a blog has too much time on their hands, and take a moment to consider that, if they have a lot of readers, they probably get a lot of pitches, too.
9) DO take the time to engage in a dialog, or at least look like you’ve invested 1/10th of the time you’re asking the writer to put in.
10) DON’T sit in the marketing meeting and take credit for “outreach to the blogosphere” if all you’re really going to do is spam people with irrelevant, semi-literate, stream-of-consciousness nonsense like this pitch, from a few weeks ago:
Acclaimed young guitarist [XXXX XXXXX] masters rock, jazz, classical and a little electronica in between. Why this outreach to you now? [XXXX} has stunned and amazed audiences since he first took the stage at 13 soloing with his guitar to the point reviewers now coin him “the Hendrix of this generation.” A classical piece performed and recorded for NY composer [XXXX XXXXX] is touted as the most difficult composition ever played – and it was written and flawlessly executed with [XXXXX]’s electric guitar… this as well as sold out tours in Europe, his intensely powerful and Zeppelin vibe rock band [XXXXX XXXXXX] (two months young and bookings coming in daily, debut CD “[XXXXX XXXX]” out in July), to haunting tracks from [XXXXXX]’s discography are just a sliver of what you could share with your readers.
This blog is perfect for communicating 1) how a dynamic rock guitarist can eloquently deliver one of the industry’s most impressive classical works, and 2) how an artist like [XXXXX] can innovate sound like no one else – no one.
Extensive print and online press, a library of audio and video tracks (“[XXXX XXXX XX XXX XXXXX]” as mp3) as well as multiple noted quotes about [XXXXX] are available upon your interest and request.
Thank you in advance and I look forward to speaking with you about this remarkable musician.
XXX – XXXX XXXX XXX (dot) com
I’m going to link to this on my publicity basics page and a main page blog posting.
It’s an old problem. A magazine colleague of mine used to ask publicists who’d pitch stories (by phone, not email–this was a long time ago!): “Have you ever read our magazine?” You’d be amazed at how often the implicit answer was “no.”
Thanks for holding our feet to the fire dearie and welcome back (praying to never be considered a publicist with quotations around the word)!